Fourteen go to post for tomorrow’s Doncaster feature the listed SkyBet Chase with L’Ami Serge the 11/4 market leader at BetVictor. Davy Russell takes the ride for Nicky Henderson’s eight-year-old with Daryl Jacob required for Bristol De Mai and Wholestone at Cheltenham.
The ground is described as soft ahead of the first day of Doncaster’s meeting, which begins with a modest Novices’ Handicap Chase. Tim Vaughan saddles two and Presenting Berkley is interesting on his chase debut returning from a long lay-off but he is likely to need better ground and he might find conditions too testing this afternoon.
Blakerigg should be worth noting if the market speaks in his favour stepping up in trip but a chance is taken on the winning hurdler/pointer Red Tortue (12.50) who has slipped to a decent mark having had three hurdle starts so far this season for Jennie Candlish.
King Of Realms has every chance of going one better than when runner up at Taunton last time for Ian Williams but Perfect Harmony was only beaten 13 lengths in the Champion Bumper last season and has run two perfectly good races in better company so far this season over timber.
I was impressed with Mount Mews on his chase debut, but he is stepped up to nearly three miles for the first time this afternoon and is reluctantly overlooked. Noel Fehily looks sure to make sure there is no hanging about on Harry Fry’s Wotizname (1.55) who is guaranteed to get the trip and is better than he showed at Cheltenham last time when he made a significant mistake at the water jump.
The juvenile Nube Negra (2.30) was no match for Triumph Hurdle favourite Apple’s Shakira at Cheltenham last time, but he gave the favourite a real race and he had previously won at Market Rasen on debut and can defy his 7lbs penalty for Dan and Harry Skelton in the Novices’ Hurdle.
The handicapper has dropped Bako De La Saulaie (3.05) by 3lbs since his Newcastle comeback when the betting suggested he would come on for the run – his first in 12 months. In the circumstances, he ran an excellent race on his chase debut run having travelled well but faded when lack of race fitness took its toll.
At Huntingdon, former BetVictor Gold Cup winner Taquin Du Seuil heads the weights in a fascinating Pertemps qualifier in which the progressive Protek Des Flos looks sure to have his supporters, but if The Mighty Don (3.15) stays this near three-and-a-quarter mile trip he must go close for Nick Gifford.
The selection might have made his bid for glory too soon in a conditional jockey’s event last time, but I remember him winning his maiden hurdle at Fakenham with his head in his chest despite clouting every other flight of hurdles. He might still be ahead of the handicapper despite a 5lbs rise.
At Kempton, Rowlestonerendezvu (6.45) is dropping to a decent mark and has a good draw in stall two in the 10f handicap. I remember the selection taking off to win at Ffos Las last summer from a 2lbs lower mark albeit over an additional two furlongs but if in the same mood, she must go close with Luke Morris a positive booking.
In the last, the well-bred Charles Fox (9.15) makes his handicap debut for James Fanshawe and the selection is certainly bred to be better than his current mark. He blew the start over 6f at Wolverhampton on his first start since being gelded and tonight’s additional furlong should suit.